What’s in a Voice?

God used a 9-year old boy and my dog to teach me something. A few days ago, one of the boys in our neighborhood was petting Petunia, our 25 lb mutt. Kids love her and she does a great job of tolerating all the attention. However, much to their dismay, Petunia is usually more interested in smelling her environment; she’s part hound, so she experiences the world primarily through her nose. Because she kept wandering off, Jadon, the young boy, kept calling her back. “Come, Petunia, come here!”

He tried every variation of a dog call he could think of. Petunia wasn’t listening at all, so finally, in an exasperated and comically desperate manner he asked, “What will make her come?” To which I simply replied, “My voice.”—

At that point, I said, “Petunia, come” and she ran over to us happily and rolled on her back so we could pet her. Which got me thinking…

Doesn’t Jesus say something about His voice? In John 10:4, Jesus-while describing Himself as the Good Shepard and us as his flock-says that “the sheep follow him [Jesus], for they know his voice.” I couldn’t help but wonder how often I fail to faithfully follow the voice of God. It also made me consider how patient God is with me when I repeatedly fail to hear His voice or, even worse, when I simply ignore it completely! Like Petunia, I’m far too easily distracted by my environment (TV, books, hunger, people, etc.) and it’s easy for me to wander. But Jesus is our Good Shepherd, going out ahead of us and leading us.

Do you realize that Jesus knows and calls you by name? I find this to be pretty amazing! Jesus knows me, Jesus leads me, Jesus calls me by name. In fact, Andreas J. Kostenberger says “there is evidence that Palestinian shepherds used to give nicknames to some of their sheep. (John – Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)” The idea of Jesus knowing me well enough to give me a nickname-and to call me by name- inspires me to trust His voice (Jn 10:14). The image of Him going out ahead to lead me inspires me to follow His example (Jn 10:3. The reality that He laid down His life for me inspires me submit to His Lordship (Jn 10:11, 15, 17, 18).

Amen! May you be inspired by the Good Shepherd to trust, follow, and submit to the Good Shepherd.